Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to establish the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, or the PM CARES Fund, amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, has triggered a controversy with many questioning the logic behind it.
PM cares. But about what? Organising mega shows for his friend ‘Dolan’ Trump while ignoring advisories by the World Health Organisation, asked a senior citizen soon after the announcement of the new relief fund to deal with national emergencies. Shouldn’t it had been called ‘INDIA CARES’?
Some were even less charitable and wondered why the PM needed to brand himself and make political capital out of a crisis of gigantic proportions?
Above all, why did the Government feel the need to launch a new fund when the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) has been there for all these years ?
The Prime Minister on Sunday apologized for the harsh lockdown and declared that he had no choice and he had taken the decision in the interest of citizens and the poor. This infuriated some people even more and they pointed out that the PM had not apologized for the delay, for poor planning and coordination, for not taking states into confidence and for not being transparent with people.
It is always " I, me and myself” with him, fumed a former bureaucrat.
On Saturday the government set up the PM-CARES Fund to provide relief to those affected by any kind of emergency or distress situation in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. It will have the Prime Minister as the Chairman of the trust and include the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister as its members. Citizens and organisations can go to the website pmindia.gov.in and donate to PM CARES Fund, a government notification said.
Joining the debate, historian Ramachandra Guha said the new fund could be a 'national tragedy'. "Why a new fund when a Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund already exists? And why the self- aggrandizing name, PM-CARES? Must a colossal national tragedy also be (mis)used to enhance the cult of personality?” he tweeted.
Sceptics questioned the centralized approach and wondered how the funds would be disbursed. Would the lion’s share go to NGOs with RSS affiliation and to the BJP-ruled states? Why not have a few chief ministers also in the Trust? Would the Trust disburse funds to the state governments?
1. When was it decided to form of a Public Charitable Trust?
2. Compelling reasons to do so?
3. Advantages of forming a new PCT as against the existing PMNRF?
4. Where do we get to see / read the bye-laws?
5. Under which Act is it registered?
6. When & where did the registration take place?
7. Is the Settler / Chairman - PM of India or Narendra Modi?
8. Other members are there- in personal names or official capacity?
9. What is the registered office address of the PM-CARES Trust?
10. Why are cronies like Akshay Kumar, Vijay Prakash of PayTM, Jay Shah of BCCI falling over each other to donate to this freshly baked Public Charitable Trust instead of the institutionalised PMNRF ?
"It’s called "PM CARES” but the money has to come from public donation. Meanwhile, tax payers’ money is splurged on statues, advertising, foreign trips and an insane plan to rebuild the central vista of New Delhi with 20k crores of public money’ .
India's leading digital payments and financial services platform Paytm has said it is aiming to aiming to contribute Rs 500 crore to the PM CARES Fund..
Adani Foundation has contributed Rs 100 crore while T-series honcho Bhushan Kumar has pledged Rs 11 crore.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has given Rs 25 crore while cricketer-turned-BJP MP Gautam Gambhir contributed Rs 1 crore.
A scathing tweet following the PM’s apology was this:
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